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This book offers a global perspective on the role food has played in shaping human societies, through both individual and collective identities. It integrates ethnographic and archaeological case studies from the European and Near Eastern Neolithic, Han China, ancient Cahokia, Classic Maya, the Inka and many other periods and regions, to ask how the meal in particular has acted as a social agent in the formation of society, economy, culture and identity. Drawing on a range of social theorists, Hastorf provides a theoretical toolkit essential for any archaeologist interested in foodways. Studying the social life of food, this book engages with taste, practice, the meal and the body to discuss power, identity, gender and meaning that creates our world as it created past societies.